Healthcare costs vary widely across the country. Some areas may be affordable for housing, like Alaska, but have the highest rates for health coverage. Not to mention, the cost for healthcare has increased 3.9 percent since last year and people spend about $10,739 for medical bills annually.
Finding the cheapest cities for healthcare
We took cost of living data and ranked 256 cities on affordability for healthcare services with 1 being the most affordable and 256 being the most expensive.
So, what are the most affordable areas for utilities in America? If you’d like to spend less than the national average, explore these 10 cities.
10. Florence, AL
Located in the northeast corner of the state, Florence resides on the banks of the Tennessee River. With many parks and museums, there’s a lot for locals to enjoy. Plus, the city has many festivals throughout the year, including the W.C. Handy Music Festival.
The city has eight income-based health clinics, the Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital and the North Alabama Medical Center, which received an award for stroke care in 2019. On average, residents spend 17.4 percent less than Americans outside of Florence. Residents here are also only paying an average of $403 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, which is one of the cheapest rental rates in the nation.
9. Richmond, IN
If you like jazz music, the all-American city of Richmond is known as the “cradle of jazz.” It was home to Gennet Records, which recorded artists like Louis Armstrong.
Located in central Indiana, Richmond has historic architecture, many museums and four colleges. Plus, it offers residents affordable housing and healthcare.
There’s Richmond State Hospital and Reid Health, which is dedicated to teaching wellness through its main campus and satellite facilities. You’ll spend 17.7 percent below average on healthcare.
8. Cedar City, UT
Cedar City is known as “Festival City U.S.A.,” holding many throughout the year for music, sports, Shakespeare and even livestock. The city is located in a high desert valley and was founded with iron mining, but now focuses on education, tourism and commercial development.
Healthcare in Cedar City is inexpensive at 17.9 percent below the national average. Cedar City Hospital is a not-for-profit hospital located in the city serving the community with medical care and helpful wellness classes.
7. Memphis, TN
Memphis is located on the Mississippi River and is known for music, barbeque and its prominent role in the American Civil Rights movement. It’s home to the National Civil Rights Museum and to many historic blues clubs, as well as the World Championship Barbecue Contest.
Cost of living is reasonable with healthcare costs 18 percent below average. There are three hospitals in the city, and Methodist Hospital of Memphis is a nationally ranked facility in eight pediatric specialties.
The average one-bedroom apartment in Memphis will cost you $1,001 a month.
6. Birmingham, AL
As one of the prominent cities in the Deep South, Birmingham is home to more than $1.1 million people. Birmingham, known for its iron and steelworks, was built on the railroading industry and has since become a hub for health insurance, medical care and education for medicine, nursing, dentistry and other health professions.
Therefore, it’s no surprise the city has affordable healthcare at 18 percent below the national average. There are several hospitals in the city, including the University of Alabama Hospital, which is a leader in medical research and nationally ranked in six adult specialties.
You can find a one-bedroom apartment in Birmingham for an average of $1,078 a month.
5. Plano, TX
Plano was voted the “Safest City in the U.S.” by Forbes in 2011 and is known as a corporate hub, with companies like Toyota, Frito-Lay, Cinemark Theatres and Keurig calling it home.
The city boasts state-of-the-art medical technology, a children’s medical center and health hospital. On average, Plano residents spend 18.4 percent below average on healthcare. There are about 10 hospitals in Plano serving a variety of needs. There’s a children’s hospital, heart center and level-one trauma center, to name a few.
The average one-bedroom apartment in Plano will cost you $1,346 each month.
4. Statesboro-Bulloch County, GA
Statesboro is known for its down-home feel with a lively creative and educational environment. It’s home to Georgia Southern University, which is the biggest employer in the area. The city is also big on agriculture and manufacturing.
Healthcare in Statesboro is 19.2 percent below the national average with two hospitals and a nonprofit medical facility with 11 clinics, including two mobile clinics for checkups.
Rent in Statesboro is also low compared to the national average. The average one-bedroom apartment here is $675 a month.
3. Lexington, KY
Known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” Lexington is home to the Kentucky Horse Park, which is an educational theme park created to teach its visitors about horses. You can see and learn about different horse breeds and attend many types of horse events.
The city is surrounded by fertile land and pastures for raising horses. But, it also includes a thriving metropolitan area with companies like IBM, Xerox and UPS.
With a wealth of jobs and a low cost of living (the average one-bedroom apartment here is $829 a month), healthcare costs are some of the most affordable in the country at 21.3 percent below average. There are several hospitals and medical facilities serving the community.
2. Cookeville, TN
If you’re looking for an affordable place to live, Cookeville is 31 percent less expensive than the average American city, according to PayScale. It has the second most affordable healthcare at 22 percent below the national average.
Cookeville has three man-made lakes that supply water to the rest of the county. The city is also home to several corporations like Oreck and Averitt Express. Many residents work in healthcare, manufacturing and education. Cookeville Regional Medical Center and Vanderbilt Children’s Cardiology are just two of the local medical facilities.
1. McAllen, TX
McAllen is in the Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas and borders Mexico. Its economy is centered around trade relations with the neighboring county due to the McAllen Foreign Trade Zone. The city also has roots in agriculture.
Though this area is known for high obesity rates, the cost of medical care is the lowest in the nation at 30.1 percent below the average for healthcare. The cost of housing is also third lowest in the country, and rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $775 a month. The Rio Grande Regional Hospital, McAllen Medical Center and McAllen Heart Hospital are among the top medical facilities in the city.
The 50 cheapest cities for healthcare
Rates that are 30 percent below average for the cost of healthcare are pretty impressive, but if one of the most affordable cities doesn’t work for you, there are many other affordable cities in states like Arkansas and Pennsylvania.
Find out which cities will help you keep your cost of living low with less expensive medical coverage.
|Rank||City/County State||Cost compared to national average|
|4||Statesboro-Bulloch County GA||-19.2%|
|8||Cedar City UT||-17.9%|
|14||San Antonio TX||-16.7%|
|27||Jackson-Madison County TN||-12.9%|
|28||Corpus Christi TX||-12.9%|
|29||Little Rock-North Little Rock AR||-12.8%|
|31||Bowling Green KY||-12.7%|
|35||Martinsville-Henry County VA||-11.5%|
|36||Columbia-Maury County TN||-11.4%|
|38||Hot Springs AR||-11.0%|
|40||Ponca City OK||-10.9%|
|42||Twin Falls ID||-10.6%|
|45||Jefferson City MO||-10.4%|
|50||Hampton Roads-SE Virginia VA||-9.0%|
The 10 most expensive places for healthcare
You’re bound to find housing in Alaska that’s less expensive than places like San Francisco and Seattle. However, healthcare in Alaska costs a pretty penny. In Fairbanks, AK, you’ll spend 55.3 percent more than the national average cost for medical expenses.
In Juneau, AK, and Anchorage, AK, you’ll pay 51.5 percent and 45.9 percent more, respectively, than the national average. Though these states have the highest costs, there are other cities where you’ll pay a premium amount.
|Rank||City/County State||Cost above the national average|
|4||San Francisco CA||30.5%|
|6||San Marcos TX||25.6%|
|9||Mount Vernon-Skagit County WA||21.7%|
Average prices for healthcare come from the Council for Community and Economic Research‘s Q1 2019 Cost of Living report. The C2ER uses the following specifications to describe healthcare:
- Office visit, optometrist
- Office visit, doctor
- Office visit, dentist
- Prescription drug
We ranked each city and county in the C2ER report in terms of affordability for healthcare, with the cheapest being 1 and the most expensive as 256. The cities with the lowest overall scores were determined to be the most affordable.
The rent information included in this article is based on August 2019 multifamily rental property inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com and is used for illustrative purposes only. Cities without rental prices indicate insufficient rental data in our inventory. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.